The Jacob Ball House

From Berne, NY - a Helderberg Hilltown
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The Jacob Ball House
Berne Historical Society

First brick house in hamlet of Berne. It was built on 1/2 acre lot on the site of William Henry Ball Farm, bounded on the north by public highway; on west , Peter Ball; on south, Stephen Van Rensselaere: on east, John Ball. [1], Lot 595. The farm included all the land in what is now the hamlet of Berne west of the bridge Weidman's Mills.[2]

  • 1835 - Built by Jacob W. Ball (1804 - 1870), son of William Henry Ball (1763 - 1843) presumably the same time as the St. Paul's Lutheran Church using brick made at the same time from the same kiln.(HHMiller)
  • 1844 - Oscar Tyler built a store at the intersection of Helderberg Trail and Knox - Berne Road.[3]
  • 1850 - Oscar Tyler sold the store to Samuel Davis and moved to Albany. [3] He sold the house to John Warner 2nd for $300. [1].
  • 1881 Carrie E. Warner, daughter of John Warner 2nd and Catherine (Kate) West married Ellery Willes Deitz.
  • 1883 John Warner 2nd died. House probably went to his wife.
  • 1905 Kate West dies. House may have gone to children Carrie and brother Lush (is what Nellie B. Deitz, daughter of John and Kate Warner, called him in the 1914 diary). There may have been other children of John (who had two wives, one died and he married again). West (the second one ) died and perhaps left Carrie, and maybe more children the house. Only a deed (or the diaries) would have all that info.
  • Jan 27, 1914 Nellie wrote in her diary, "Mr. & Mrs. Engle (Wallace and Emma Engle?) came to look at brick house--said they would give five hundred for it." Nothing more found on the house, so can't tell from here if they sold it then. Sounds like Carrie had some ownership yet.[4]
  • 1940s house was owned by Frank Becker, Sr. (1876-1955).
  • say 1955 - bought by Berne-Knox-Westerlo School District.
  • 1960 - House was torn down by the school district in 1960 for sale of land for the construction of St. Bernadette's Catholic Church. They found 2 old sketches dating from 1886 in the walls of the house. One was of the house of the former slave Jack Deitz, and the other was a crayon drawing of Berne and Beaverdam Cemetery. Both were drawn by Mrs. Cynthia Engle Ball and are now at the Berne Historical Society. This suggests that perhaps her brother Wallace Engle and his wife Emma bought the house in 1914. Why they were hidden in the walls remains a mystery.[4] Click on the links for more information about the drawings.


Click on images to enlarge them.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Willis H. Warner, from Albany County Deeds
  2. 1787 map
  3. 3.0 3.1 Our Heritage page 39
  4. 4.0 4.1 Al Deitz